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VIDA Residency Fellowships Winners Announced

VIDA Residency Fellowships Winners Announced

Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce the winners of the VIDA fellowships for the fall residency period, Raena Shirali and Nicole Connolly. SAFTA paired with VIDA, a research-driven organization aiming to increase issues in contemporary literary culture, to offer these fellowships for two women writers in any genre. This year’s winners were chosen by guest judge Elissa Washuta.

View More: http://giniaworrellphotography.pass.us/rshiraliRaena Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. Shirali’s honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Philip Roth Residency at Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry, and poetry prizes from Boston Review , Gulf Coast, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, the Indian American poet earned her MFA from The Ohio State University. She currently lives in Philadelphia, where she is a coorganizer for We (Too) Are Philly, a summer poetry festival highlighting voices of color. Shirali also serves as Poetry Editor for Muzzle Magazine and is on the editorial team for Vinyl.

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Nicole Connolly lives and works in Orange County, CA, which she promises is mostly unlike what you see on TV. She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University, and her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in such journals as ANMLY, Fugue, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

Applications for spring residencies at SAFTA are now open and can be found at sundressacademyforthearts.com.

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Poetry Broadsides of Ina Cariño’s poem “Feast” Available for Pre-Order

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Sundress Publications is thrilled to announce that broadsides of Ina Cariño’s poem “Feast” are available for pre-order. “Feast” was the winner of our 2017 Poetry Broadside Contest. The broadsides will be printed at Sundress Academy for the Arts on a full-size working 19th century Challenge copy of a C&P old-style letterpress.

The broadside publication of “Feast” is now available for pre-order for $15 at our online store.

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Josephine “Ina” Cariño’s work has appeared in such journals as New American Fiction (New Rivers Press), One (Jacar Press), and december. She grew up in the mountains of the Philippines, a folkloric and aesthetic background to many of her poems. Cariño currently resides in Raleigh, NC, where she is pursuing her MFA in creative writing at North Carolina State University.

Like much of Cariño’s work, “Feast” is built on childhood memory, the natural world, and the interplay between life and death. The broadside edition combines her work with an original piece by Mariana Sierra, graphic designer at Sundress Publications.

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Order yours today at: https://squareup.com/store/sundress-publications/item/feast-by-josephine-ina-carino-broadside

Find out more about our publications, contests, and submission calls at sundresspublications.com.

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Laura Villareal

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I wasn’t always a reader. I remember looking for picture books about kids with the same skin color as me but there were very few. At some point I think I internalized the idea that books weren’t for kids like me. This idea was reinforced in school when we only read books by white male writers, and when my teachers expressed doubts about my writing being my own. They believed it was “too good” for someone like me. I was detrimentally shy, but I refused to be underestimated so I continued to work hard. Looking back now I realize that those experiences had less to do with me and more to do with how the world perceives people who look like me.

My parents never stopped encouraging me to read and write. They played audiobooks in the car, gave me books they loved, and let me read whatever I wanted.  Eventually, I learned to love exploring the lives of people different from me. Each new book taught me empathy. I fell in love with the limitlessness of language and how it costs nothing to tell a story. My mom used to tell me that if I couldn’t find a book I wanted to read, then I should write it.

It wasn’t until I was in grad school at Rutgers University-Newark that I discovered a community of writers. Everything was new to me. I grew up in the middle of nowhere Texas and had limited knowledge of all things literary. The closest library near my home only housed poetry books by white poets and dead poets. It didn’t occur to me that the world of poetry continued moving and growing like the world of fiction did. That’s naive to admit, but I’ve been lucky; the kindness and generosity of my peers and teachers saved me. Their book suggestions, conversations on writing, and invitations to readings exposed me to a world I couldn’t imagine back home.

After graduation, I moved back to Texas and felt displaced. I continued reading and writing, but didn’t feel like I had a community anymore. By living in a house surrounded by fields instead of my fellow writers, I’ve learned that writing shouldn’t be done alone. I believe that it’s essential to build community, support other writers, and champion their work.

Last summer, I found a community that allowed me to do all those things at VONA/ Voices. All 9 poets who were in my workshop are brilliant and the best people I know. Every day I feel grateful for their support and friendship.  

All of this has led me here to Sundress Publications. I’m always looking for ways to participate and learn more about all the work put into presses and journals. The hard work of writers, editors, and readers at presses and literary magazines is what sustains the writing community. I’m excited to go behind the scenes as an editorial intern with Sundress Publications.

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Laura Villareal is from a small town in Texas with more cows than people. She earned an MFA from Rutgers University-Newark. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Apogee, Black Warrior Review, Breakwater Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Freezeray, Reservoir, The Boiler, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and scholarships from The Highlights Foundation, Key West Literary Seminar, and VONA/ Voices. She’s also a reader at Winter Tangerine.

 

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Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Hollie Householder

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When I was in first grade, I presented my mother a hand-written letter saying that “Your Dawter has been promoted to the second grade.” Of course, my seven-year-old mind could spell “promoted,” but not “daughter.” I believe I almost had her on that one.

Then, in middle school, I wrote a note to a little boy who caught my eye. I think I told him that his hair reminded me of an orange peel. My writing was obviously great – he’s my fiancé now.

Although these are stories that I look back on with humor, they also make me realize that I’ve spent my life in writing. I enjoy the idea of sharing my work with someone and having them laugh, or fall in love, or be interested. I also enjoy the thought of someone reading my writing and tearing it apart. I like that I have something to offer people that can evoke any kind of emotion.

I believe writers are some of the most influential people you can come by. I expect my internship at Sundress Academy for the Arts to enforce my beliefs and welcome me into a community where each word and work means something.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anais Nin

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Hollie Householder graduates from Maryville College in May 2018, where she declared a major in Writing and Communications and a minor in Sociology. She has had her poetry published in the local literary magazine Impressions and enjoys participating in workshops with other writers. She loves meeting new people and sharing laughter with others. Her least favorite writing prompt is a third-person bio.

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Sundress Academy for the Arts Seeks Readers for Award-Winning Sundress Reading Series

safta logoSundress Academy for the Arts Seeks Readers
for Award-Winning Sundress Reading Series

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) would like to invite writers to read as part of their 2018 – 2019 reading series. Since 2013, SAFTA has hosted poets and prose writers as part of their award-winning Sundress Reading Series in the heart of Knoxville, TN, just miles from the Great Smoky Mountains. An extension of Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts, the Sundress Reading Series features nationally recognized writers in all genres from around the US while also supporting local and regional nonprofits. The deadline to apply is June 15, 2018.

We are currently curating our fall and spring reading series schedule. Our readings take place monthly on Sundays at 2PM at Hexagon Brewing Company. To apply to be a reader, please send 6-8 pages of poetry or 8-15 pages of prose, a 100-word bio, and CV in the body of an email to Erin Elizabeth Smith at erin@sundresspublications.com.

We will make every effort possible to contact those chosen by July 15, 2018. While we are currently unable to pay our readers, authors are given a discount on future SAFTA residencies and are encouraged to sell their own books and merchandise at the event.

Find our more or to view some of our past readers and schedules, visit us at www.sundressacademyforthearts.com.

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Project Bookshelf: Jeremy Michael Reed

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This small bookshelf is the one that sits next to my writing desk at home. On top are items that make a little kind of home altar, things from important moments in my life that I look at or think about while I write: some rocks from a river in Montana I used to go swimming in, a marker from a long-distance pilgrimage route I hiked, and some notes from friends. Underneath these are the books I’m thinking most often about lately.

I’m at the point in my PhD that I’m writing my dissertation, and the books that are most important to me and to that project are here. Across the top shelf are some complete favorites: Olio by Tyehimba Jess, Whereas by Layli Long Soldier, Sand Opera by Philip Metres, One with Others by C.D. Wright, and Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey. Others on the top shelf are newer finds that have really shaped my thinking: Testimony by Simone John, Hardly War by Don Mee Choi, Persons Unknown by Jake Adam York, and Blue Front by Martha Collins.

Across the bottom shelf are some books that are old favorites (Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, and Adrienne Rich) but mostly the bottom shelf has books I’m still super excited to read: Taylor Branch’s trilogy on King and the Civil Rights movement, Kevin Young’s Brown, Tarfia Faizullah’s Registers of Illuminated Villages, and more. In the bottom right corner you’ll see an abandoned system for keeping track of poems on index cards and on the top right are tucked some of Robert Caro’s life’s work, his biography of Lyndon Johnson, that I’ve been really enjoying reading in small pieces while working on other things.

Jeremy Michael Reed is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. His poems are published or forthcoming in Still: The Journal, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere, including the anthology Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing. He lives in Knoxville, where he is the editor-in-chief of Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, assistant editor of Sundress Publications, co-director of The Only Tenn-I-See Reading Series, and assistant to Joy Harjo. You can read his work at: www.jeremymichaelreed.com

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Sundress Academy for the Arts & VIDA Now Accepting Applications for Fall Artist Residencies

Sundress Academy for the Arts & VIDA
Now Accepting Applications for Fall Artist Residencies

Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is excited to announce that they are now accepting applications for short-term artists’ residencies in creative writing, visual art, film/theater, music, scholarly work, and more. Each residency includes a room of one’s own, access to a communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet.

The length of a residency can run from one to three weeks. SAFTA is currently accepting applications for our fall residency period, which runs from August 21st to December 31st, 2018. The deadline for fall residency applications is May 1st, 2018.

For the fall residency period, SAFTA will be pairing with VIDA to offer two fellowships (one full fellowship and one 50% fellowship) for a week-long residency to two women writers of any genre. VIDA’s mission as a research-driven organization is to increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing as well as further transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture. Fellowships will be chosen by guest judge, Elissa Washuta.

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 1.17.20 PMElissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of two books, Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, 4Culture, Potlatch Fund, and Hugo House. Elissa is an assistant professor of English at the Ohio State University.

The SAFTA farmhouse is located on a working farm that rests on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee “holler” perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. Located less than a half-hour from downtown Knoxville, an exciting and creative city of 200,000 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, SAFTA is an ideal location for those looking for a rural get-away with access to urban amenities.

The residency bedrooms are 130 sq. ft. with queen-size platform bed, closet, dresser, and desk. There is also a communal kitchen supplied with stove, refrigerator, and microwave plus plenty of cook- and dining-ware. The facility also includes a full-size working 19th century full-size letterpress with type, woodworking tools, a 1930’s drafting table, and an extensive library of contemporary literature.

For more information and application material, visit our website at sundressacademyforthearts.com.

 

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Project Bookshelf: Snigdha Koirala

 

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My current bookshelf marks a transitional phase in my life. Having moved away from home (and thus having to limit the books I could bring with me), I had the problem of any other bibliophile in this situation: an understocked bookshelf. Around the same time, I was listening to various podcast interviews of one of my favourite writers, Jhumpa Lahiri. She explained that she too faced the dreaded understocked bookshelf after her move to Rome from New York. As an antidote, she displayed covers of books, which took up more space on the shelf, and simultaneously created an art installation of sorts. And in true fashion of a devoted fan, I did the same.

My books are organized in no particular order. Most recent reads tend to have their covers displayed, and eventually move to the side or are stacked under other books as I add more to the shelf. There are, of course, a few that I never move, particularly Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street. These books, apart from having colourful covers and being stunning visual pleasures, have played a significant role in my young life, shaping me as a reader, a writer, and a person. Their placement on my shelf (and forgive my sentimentalism) is an ode to their influence.

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I also have a small stand-alone shelf on my wall. Here, I place books I am most excited to read. Most of them are attached to a vivid memory of their purchase: Bharati Mukherjee’s Leave It To Me and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth bring to mind a trip to San Francisco with my two best friends; Anita Desai’s The Collected Stories a day in London with my mom; and Jean Rhys’ The Collected Short Stories a perfectly uneventful summer afternoon in Toronto. In many ways, this shelf (again, my sentimental self makes an appearance here) is a diary, which logs happy days waiting to be revisited.

 


Snigdha Koirala is a third year student of English Literature. Born in Nepal and raised in Canada, she is currently living in Scotland, where she is pursuing her degree at The University of Edinburgh. Her love affair with prose and (more recently) poetry has led her work to appear in The Ogilvie, The Inkwell, and other publications. In her spare time, she can be found wandering the streets of Edinburgh, watching cheesy Rom-Coms, and reading bell hooks.

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An Interview with Ruth Awad

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The Sundress Academy for the Arts‘ 2018 Summer Poetry Writing Retreat will run from Friday, May 25th to Sunday, May 27th. The three-day, two-night camping retreat will be held at SAFTA’s own Firefly Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee. All SAFTA retreats focus on generative poetry writing, and this year’s poetry retreat will also include break-out sessions on writing political poetry, writing confession, kicking writer’s block, publishing, and more.

We’re getting excited about our Poetry Retreat this May! Editorial Intern, Anna Moseley, asked Ruth Awad, retreat leader a few questions about creative outlets, confessionalism, and more!

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It seems that between writing, cooking, jewelry, and tattooing, you have a lot of very creative outlets. What about writing has appealed to you more than other creative pursuits?

The satisfaction I derive from writing is different than my other outlets. When I write, I feel for a fleeting second that I’ve glimpsed some tiny, elusive truth. Pinned it down or held it up to the light. That’s not something I get from tattooing or jewelry making, where my aim is namely aesthetic.

In your new book, Set to Music a Wildfire, issues such as war, immigration, and belonging are prominent figures. Did you draw inspiration wholly from your father’s experiences, or have current social issues played a role in the poems? How much of your own experiences have blended with others’ in the retelling of your father’s story?

Ongoing social issues – the Iraq War (and its aftermath), the Syrian Civil War, rampant xenophobia/Islamophobia in the U.S. – definitely informed how I thought about and wrote about my father’s experiences during the Lebanese Civil War. One of my goals for this collection was to examine the civilian cost of war, from trauma and survival to displacement and the work of making a home in another country. I am privileged enough to not have these experiences firsthand, but I have witnessed throughout my life the toll they took on my father ­– the guilt he felt over leaving his family and country, the hostility he faced (especially after 9/11 – I remember the classmates who said my father was a terrorist). Later in the collection, the poems follow my mother and father’s relationship. Those are mostly my experiences and memories at work.

Between your book and your essay, “In the Skin,” you speak a lot about your relationships with your parents and how those have affected you. Would you consider yourself a confessionalist, and if not, how would you describe your approach to writing about personal matters?

It seems most contemporary poetry has some confessionalist impulse, so while I see that at work in my own poems, it feels a little imprecise as a label. My hope for my work is to observe the grief and truth and cruelty and joy in this stupid world, to create something that makes these things more bearable for others. Sometimes examining the self and the personal are a means to that end. Sometimes it is necessary to turn the lens outward.

Sign-ups are happening now for this year’s retreat!

 


Ruth Awad is the author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), which won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and she won the 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry contest. Her work has appeared in New Republic, The Missouri Review, CALYX, Diode, The Adroit Journal, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. Learn more at www.ruthawadpoetry.com.

Anna Moseley is currently a senior at the University of Tennessee majoring in English Literature. She has a glorious waitressing job downtown and writes as a contributor for the Arts and Culture section of the Daily Beacon. When she bothers to extract her nose from a book, Anna’s hobbies include engaging in wine-fueled political debates and looking at pictures of dogs she can’t afford.

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Interview with SAFTA Fiction Retreat Leader, Mary Miller

 

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is thrilled to announce its Summer Fiction Writing Retreat, which runs from Friday, June 15 to 17, 2018. The three-day, two-night camping retreat will be held at SAFTA’s own Firefly Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee. This year’s retreat will focus on generative fiction writing and include two break-out sessions “Conflict and POV as Perspective” and “Writing the Travel Narrative,” plus discussions on kicking writer’s block, publishing, and more.

A weekend pass includes one-on-one and group instruction, writing supplies, food, drinks, transportation to and from the airport, and all on-site amenities for $250. Tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment are available to rent for $25. Payment plans are available if you reserve by April 17, 2018; inquire via email for details.

The event will be open to writers of all backgrounds and provide an opportunity to work with many talented, published fiction writers from around the country, including Mary Miller and Jeanne Thornton.

What are some of your hopes for this year’s SAFTA retreat?

I’m excited to be a part of SAFTA! My hopes for the retreat are simple: to share knowledge and have a good time.

You’ve been published widely, and your works have received great acclaim. In between writing your short story collections, you also wrote a novel. How did these experiences (writing the novel vs writing short stories) differ? What did you find gratifying or frustrating/liberating or constraining about the two?

My novel is similar to my short stories in a lot of ways. For one, it’s a very short novel, around 67k words. It’s also narrow in scope, taking place over a four-day period of time and told from the perspective of one person. I don’t have any interest in writing a multi-generational epic told from numerous points of view. Perhaps that’ll change one day; there was a time when I didn’t think I would write anything other than slightly fictionalized stories from a middle class white woman’s perspective, which isn’t the case anymore.

This is to say: I didn’t find writing that particular novel frustrating. More generally, a story should be as long as it needs to be and I try to remember that.

You unabashedly write about controversial issues in your work, and your characters are both relatable and real. How do you think this might inform your teaching when you work with other writers?

I don’t think of myself as writing about controversial issues or being unabashed or anything like that. I try to be as honest as possible and tell the truth (from my narrator’s perspective). I don’t think there’s any reason to write if you aren’t willing to do this. As far as how this might inform my teaching: I’ll always push writers when they need to be pushed, but I try not to do it in a pushy way.

What/whom are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading two story collections: Jenny Diski’s The Vanishing Princess and Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women. I’m actually rereading the Berlin because I’ve assigned it to my students.

I was going to say that both of these books were published posthumously, but I just googled it and the Diski collection was originally published in 1995 in the U.K. but is just now available in the U.S. So sort of posthumously? They’re both brilliant. I wish I’d found these writers decades ago.

What’s next on the horizon for you? 

I finished a draft of a novel recently and need to start editing it soon. Right now I’m working on an essay about Jason Molina, a musician that more people should listen to/know about (I also love living people!). I’m enjoying writing flash fiction again, too. It’s so gratifying to write a draft of a story in a very short period of time.

We have one full scholarship available for the retreat as well as limited 20% scholarships for those with financial need. To apply for a scholarship, send a packet of no more than (15) pages of prose along with a brief statement on why you would like to attend this workshop to Erin Elizabeth Smith at erin@sundresspublications.com no later than April 10th, 2018. Winners will be announced in late April.

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